Olango Biking: Loving the Right Way

I came across the sweetest question I encountered -
"When you have a new desire in your heart, do you already love the holiness you once hate? And, do you already hate the sin you once love?"

The desire for me to bring closer to the One who created me appears to me in a 360-degree. He molded me to become an intricate and attractive being. His skillful hands patiently hand-crafted me to inspire others and to radiate holiness that was once a taboo. The question then is an allegory of devotion and desire to strengthen one's faith. Because after all these worldly representations, love serves as the most powerful emblem of the human race.

These days, I have now a clear pavement to walk on where erstwhile lay an obscured and troubled mind and heart. It was there in Olango Island where an intense cacophony of broken dreams, promises and relationship that were deafening and discouraging thus left me shattered and disconnected from myself. But then the bittersweet memories strengthened my formerly distorted self-image when I allowed God to take control of it. It lead me to better my self and to forgive the island that once habituated my rage and frustration. I simply moved on from hate. I simply loved the right way. I simply accepted God.

So I went back to the island and started new memories...

Though the southwest wind caused great ripples on the sea which in turn welcomed me with a great splash even if I was still lining up in the port of Angasil gave me an exciting pleasure. The strong wind whooshing on my face with some drizzles of the salt water was unceasingly tickling my skin especially when the out-triggered boat was sailing in the middle of Olango Trench. 

Looking up above, I could see that the sky was accumulated with cumulo-nimbus clouds.I thought of incoming rain but I was still crossing fingers. Subsequently, Olango Princess docked 35 minutes after struggling off the "habagat" waves across Mactan and Olango Island. While the wind was still at its rapid force, I continued to walk from the seaport up to the 500-meter stretch landbridge before I finally decided to head to Barangay Candagsao. With this almost-saturated weather, I could bike the entire Olango without worrying of a sunburn or prickly heat. The weather affirmed my return and favored my activity I was about to do. 

Then I met Erwin, the bike rental owner. It was funny how I met him.  Back then, he was fixing the police station's computer while I was there pouring my heart out and drying up my tears after an interrogation of my VAWC case. The women's desk officer was trying to cheer me up and tried to divert my attention. But the ramblings in my head and my uneasiness in my heart would never suffice. Again, I had an emotional outburst. I stayed in the police station for quite some time until my restlessness disappeared. Until I could finally go home no longer shaking. Erwin talked to me. He asked me if I was the teacher in a certain island school. I nodded. He then told me how he had become familiar with my face. He narrated how I gracefully danced as the school's representative of the festival queen a year ago. I smiled. It was a genuine one while covering my already red nose. Erwin, in his part, told me that he managed a net cafe and bike rental. And that was how I had an idea of biking Olango.

Now, I could find myself knocking at this business man's house. I was already fit. I was in a proper disposition - one who was no longer under psychological evaluation. I was human again. Erwin greeted me with a grin while asking me how I was doing. Answering him with another statement that I was interested with renting a bike, he got the message that I was fine. After I signed the waiver, I started off pedaling north. 

Then a few meters away from Barangay Candagasao, I made a quick right turn heading to Barangay Caw-oy. It is known for its floating restaurant which for a local view, has a sky-rocketing menu prices. Why did I know this? I once met my Korean student together with his wife and invited me for an excursion. Since I was already assigned in the island, I invited them instead. We were looking for a seafood restaurant thus Caw-oy Restaurant was referred. If Venice has a gondola taking you for a romantic trip, Caw-oy allows you to ride a small boat that will take to the restaurant. Gazing at the floating food houses allowed me to wander off my imagination again. Those memories kept dearly in my heart are too precious to let go. 

I started pedaling again heading far north - Barangay Tingo. I passed by the gym where I was made their Festival Queen. I could hear the crowd cheering at me whilst saying, "Miss Beautiful...Miss Beautiful..." then a curve formed in my lips.Those glorious years - how swiftly it went and how my popularity in the island spread. How distraught I became after when I fell in love with a wrong man. 

I made a quick turn to Bantiguihan still part of Barangay Tingo. My grandpa's land laid barren  their. The thousand-meter beach front serves as the docking area for pumpboats coming from the northern strip of Lapu-lapu. The ragged cliff is a perfect spot for cliff jumping and an area for sunrise watching. The weather was abiding well. I still couldn't feel the tickling heat. Then I went on...

The desire to bike the entire island became intense as I pedaled my way to Barangay Baring. I could remember the place...I knew there was a docking area here, too. Not too long when a special friend and I chose the bridge to be the spot for a short film. The "tulay" with the city's background was our concept. In that film, we were made to show the contrasting island life and the urban living from a student's viewpoint. The reflection of the water transported me back to the present. Being drifted in overwhelming memories sometimes bring either pleasure and pain. However this time, I preferred the former. The pleasure of visiting a happy memory gives more meaning while a tarry of afflictive ones are oppressing.

I hurried my way to Barangay Talima while competing with a grader who happened to bike with me. The gushing island wind was comforting. Momentarily, the island was a bliss. Positive vibes enveloped the atmosphere. "La vie est belle," I sighed.

The whole stretch of the main road from Barangay Talima to Barangay Tungasan had me glimpsed to the right side of the road where the hospital, police and fire station and a government hall are situated. I had gone to these different buildings in the past. It was there at the government hall where training for all island school teachers was held. I was so naive back then. So scared to share my ideas in the crowd but when I was given the chance to express and to share my ideas. I heard praises. 
I heard a unison applause and at the last day of the training, I was chosen as the host for the closing program. 
I was that pearl - precious, treasured and priced. Then the hospital. I remembered it too well when a certain 5-year old kid  from a daycare center was diagnosed with CAP - C. (Community Acquired Pneumonia Stage C). The danger of this disease for youngsters could lead to death. Thankful that I was together with a doctor, we finally decided to have the child admitted in that hospital. I shook my head in disbelief. How did I manage to extend a helping hand to others whom I never had any blood relation with? But then I realized that it was my devotion - to serve and to care.

(to be continued...)

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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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